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Ibraheem's Father or Uncle?


The Qur-aan mentions that Ibraaheem’s father was an idolater and his name was Aazar (Al-An‘aam 6:74). Ibraaheem tried to invite him to Islam multiple times in many loving ways, but he would not listen. Rather he would get angry with Ibraaheem and threaten to throw him out of his home. He would often try to convince his father to give up idolatry. For that purpose he would discuss the issue in a very convincing way but in loving words and compassionate style:
Ibraaheem said to his father, “O my father, why do you worship that which does not hear, does not see and will not benefit you in any way at all? O my father, special knowledge has certainly come to me that did not come to you, so follow me; I will guide you to the straight path. O my father, do not obey Shayŧaan; indeed Shayŧaan has been disobedient to the Most Gracious. O my father, I certainly fear that the punishment of the Most Gracious will afflict you, so you will become a companion of Shayŧaan.” The father responded, “Are you turning away from my gods, O Ibraaheem? If you do not stop, I will surely stone you. Now get out of my face forever.” Maryam 19:42-46

The Qur-aan also mentions that Ibraaheem AH was a very kind-hearted person who would try every way in his power to save misguided people from the punishment of Allaah. So much so that when the angels of Allaah came to destroy Sodomites, he began pleading for them.
When the fright had left Ibraaheem and good news had reached him, he began to plead with Us concerning Loot’s people. Indeed, Ibraaheem was forbearing, tender-hearted and given to look to Allaah. O Ibraaheem, give it up! Allaah’s command has been decreed and to them is coming the punishment that shall not be turned back. Hood 11:74-76

In the same spirit, he used to pray to Allaah for forgiveness of his father when his father would not listen to Ibraaheem’s call to Towheed:
And forgive my father, he is one of those who are misguided. Ash-Shu’araa 26:86

Similarly, when he survived the fire and was banished from his home he indicated to his father that although he did not have any influence over the decisions of Allaah, he would pray to Allaah for his forgiveness.
Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. He certainly is ever gracious to me. Maryam 19:47
I shall seek forgiveness for you, though I do not have any power to get anything from Allaah for you. Al-Mumtaĥinah 60:4

He did fulfill his promise by praying:
Our Lord forgive me, my parents and the believers on the day the Judgement will take place. Ibraaheem 14:41

However, when he found out that Allaah SWT does not like Muslims to pray for the forgiveness of the idolaters even if they are one’s own parents or children, he completely abandoned any such thoughts:
And Ibraaheem’s request of forgiveness for his father was only because of a promise he had made to him. But it became apparent to him that his father was an enemy to Allaah, he disowned him. Indeed, Ibraaheem was compassionate and forbearing. At-Towbah 9:114

For a reader who wants to gain knowledge from the Qur-aan, instead of imposing his views upon it, the matter is clear from the text of the Qur-aan that Ibraaheem’s father, Aazar, was an idolater who did not give up his religion to become Muslim. And the importance of the point is that sincere believers base their relationships on faith, not on blood ties. They break away from and disown even their disbelieving parents or children.

Now a person, Tahirul Qadri, has made a claim that none in the ancestors of the Prophet had ever worshipped idols. Unfortunately, the verses of the Qur-aan that clearly mentioned Ibraaheem’s father being an idolater spoiled his speculation because Ibraaheem’s father is one ancestor in that chain. So instead of correcting his view he decided to twist the meaning of the Qur-aan. He claimed that Aazar was an uncle of Ibraaheem, not his father, and it was Aazar who was the idolater not Ibraaheem’s father.

So, how do you explain that the Qur-aan clearly mentions his father being the idolater? The response: People sometimes use father figuratively for other father-like figures such as uncles, so we can assume that the Qur-aan used father figuratively for Ibraaheem’s uncle. What is this assumption based on? Did Qur-aan anywhere mention Aazar to be his uncle? No, it called him his father! Did Qur-aan mention anywhere that Ibraaheem’s father was Muslim? Absolutely not! Does the Qur-aan give any clue that it is using father figuratively for an uncle? Not at all! Has the Qur-aan anywhere used singular word ‘father’ for any one other than the real father of a person? Never!

The Qur-aan mentions Ibraaheem’s father either in Ibraaheem’s words of address, “O my father” or indirectly describing that Ibraaheem said “to his father”. Thus, the Qur-aan has quoted Ibraaheem using Arabic words “Yaa abati” (“O my father”) four (4) times while talking to his idolater father. The same word was used: once by Ismaaeel when Ibraaheem asked him about sacrifice and he said, “O my father, do what you have been commanded”; twice by Yousuf while talking to his father Ya’qoob; and once by the daughter of Shu’aib while talking to him about Moosa. Similarly, the Qur-aan has used Arabic word “li abeehi” (“to/for his father”) nine (9) times to mention that Ibraaheem talked to his father or prayed for his father. This word has also been used once about Yousuf when he was reported to talk to his father. In addition to the examples already quoted, the word “ab” (father) has been used 19 times in Soorah Yousuf by Ya‘qoob’s sons while referring to him. Were they also talking to their uncles, or were they talking to their father? Or does the Qur-aan use ordinary words in a very confusing manner; some times for their real meaning and sometimes for their figurative meaning without giving any clue about what meaning to imply and it is only some odd researchers who discover the real meaning? Or, is it more probable that the so-called researchers are abusing the Qur-aan by twisting it to mean what they want?

Considering that sometimes people may use ‘father’ figuratively for an uncle, priest or another authoritative or elderly person, does it mean that when the word father is used alone without any context indicating figurative meaning, one is at liberty to interpret it figuratively? Those who apply this type of unreasonable approaches to the Qur-aan, hopefully do not put their uncle’s or priest’s name where they are required to give their father’s name!

So how did it occur to Mr. Qadri and others like him that Aazar was Ibraaheem’s uncle, not his father? The answer is that they concocted it out of the Bible. It is not that that Bible has mentioned that Aazar was Ibraaheem’s uncle. In fact, the Bible does not even recognize the name Aazar at all. It is merely because the Bible mentions the name of Ibraaheem’s father to be Terah, these people have assumed that Aazar is his uncle. Interestingly, even the Bible does not indicate that Ibraaheem ever lived with anyone other than his father to support any speculation that the Qur-aan mentions uncle as a father because Ibraaheem was brought up by him and used to live with him. The Bible does mention Ibraaheem leaving Terah, his father’s area and household late in his adulthood, without mentioning any reason for it. This is usual for the Bible. It gives all the unnecessary details about the prophets but never mentions the goals or the mission of the prophets, the spirit of their actions and the reasons for the mercy and blessings of Allaah on them. Here is how the Qur-aan mentions it:
Ibraaheem said to his father, “O my father, why do you worship that which does not hear, does not see and will not benefit you in any way at all? O my father, special knowledge has certainly come to me that did not come to you, so follow me; I will guide you to the straight path. O my father, do not obey Shayŧaan; indeed Shayŧaan has been disobedient to the Most Gracious. O my father, I certainly fear that the punishment of the Most Gracious will afflict you, so you will become a companion of Shayŧaan.” The father responded, “Are you turning away from my gods, O Ibraaheem? If you do not stop, I will surely stone you. Now get out of my face forever.” Ibraaheem said, “Peace be upon you. I will ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. He certainly is ever gracious to me. I will leave you and whom you invoke besides Allaah; and I will call upon my Lord. I expect that I will not be disappointed in invocation to my Lord.” So when He had left them and those they worshipped other than Allaah, we gave him Isĥaaq and Ya‘qoob, and made each of them a prophet. Maryam 19:42-4

So, here we have, on the one hand, an adulterated, changed, unpreserved book that is full of contradictions, inaccuracies and un-Islamic contents that claims Ibraaheem’s father to be Terah; and on the other hand, a pristine pure Book of Allaah protected by Allaah himself telling us the name of Ibraaheem’s father to be Aazar. What a pity that these so-called Muslims researchers are ready to twist the Qur-aan to align it to the Bible!

But what do they gain by doing that? What is the need of making such a claim? How does it matter if the ancestors of the Prophet did or did not worship idols? Let us say that some of them did (and there is ample evidence of that), does it reduce (Na‘aoodzu billaah) the unparalleled respect, status, honour and prestige of our Prophet? Does he not deserve anymore (Na‘aoodzu billaah) to be the leader of all the prophets and messengers? Does he not remain a beloved of Allaah on the bases of his own virtues? Does Islam recognize any impact of what your fathers and forefathers did or did not do? And let us say the claim is true (which is absolutely implausible), does it add anything to his respect, status, honour or Allaah’s love for him? The answer to all these questions is absolutely negative. That is why this issue was never brought up either in the Qur-aan or in Ĥadeeth.

If the issue is so worthless and irrelevant, why does the Ummah need to go into arguments on meaningless things like it? Why waste the Ummah’s precious time on things that do not bring any good to Islam or Muslims? Why start such issues that divide and further weaken an Ummah already in deep trouble?

Not only did he dedicate 20 pages of his Urdu book on Seerah of the Prophet on a claim that is at odds with the Qur-aan and Ĥadeeth, he is abusing the Qur-aan to justify his stance and creating a rift in the Ummah and causing Muslims energies and time wasted on totally irrelevant and useless things.

Earlier examples showed extremism in the sense that they wanted to diminish the role of Rasool in our Deen. This example shows the other extreme where Qur-aan is twisted to exaggerate about the Prophet by inventing unnecessary attributes.

All the above-mentioned examples have been presented as a sample to show how not following the reasonable principles of literary interpretation and rules of interpretations of the Qur-aan is what leads to discord, factions, and infighting among the Muslims. The next example shows how many Muslims living in Western societies are drawing wrong conclusions from a verse and how to interpret it properly.

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